Title: Ages Apart

By: dawnm

Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy or Xena. All Hail Joss Whedon, Rob Tapert, et al. Please don't sue me for trying to have a little fun with them.

Spoilers: Takes place around Buffy s3 ep. "Choices" and Xena s2 ep. "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun", but events from all episodes prior to those are fair game for mention here as well.

Rating: PG-ish

Classification: Romance/Action/Crossover

Pairings: Buffy/Willow, Xena/Gabrielle

Summary: A routine patrol brings unexpected guests into Buffy and Willow's lives. New friends help to bring clarity to our slayer and hacker and much B/W goodness ensues. And though their path to love is winding, X/G also find enlightenment along the way.

Feedback: I'd love to hear what you think of the story. Feel free to email me anytime with comments or questions. Email: dawnm92@yahoo.com

Chapter 1 - A Trip Through Time

Gabrielle stood at the edge of the woods waiting for Xena who was talking with one of the men from the village. The bard could hear only bits and pieces of the conversation.

"...loss of so many. Three more girls have disappeared from a village just south of here.” She heard the man say to Xena.

“What did he say?” Gabrielle asked, when Xena approached.

“Three more girls kidnapped from a neighboring village. That brings the total to six.”  Xena answered.

As they entered the edge of the woods, Xena paused, looking around.

“Who would do this?” Gabrielle asked.

“Shh. Listen.”

“I don’t hear anything.” Gabrielle replied, wondering what Xena could be listening to.

“That’s your answer. This is the Bacchae forest.”

“The hunting grounds for Bacchus, the God of Wine, and his Bacchae followers. So…we should hear Orpheus. His music is said to tame the Bacchae.” Gabrielle said, recounting the legend.

“And without it, these woods aren’t safe.”

“So you think the Bacchae took those girls?” The bard asked.

“There’s one way to find out.” Xena said, heading off deeper into the woods with Gabrielle trailing closely behind her.


“Did you bring me the head of Orpheus?”  Bacchus asked.

“No, master. He got away.” The Bacchae responded.

“You fools! How could you let this happen?!”

“He and his idiot companion were rescued…by Xena.” The Bacchae explained.

"Xena! I will take care of her." Bacchus grinned as he formulated his plan to get Xena out of the way.


"Kronos, God of Time, I call on you. Come before me." Bacchus bellowed, raising his arms toward the heavens.

In a flash, Kronos appeared, looking toward Bacchus. "Why have you called me here?"

"When you were banished to Tartarus, I fought to free you." Bacchus asserted.

Kronos nodded. "I owe you a debt. Have you called upon me to collect that debt?"

"Yes, Kronos. My time to rise, to reign, is now. Someone is trying to stand in the way of my plans. Xena, the Warrior Princess, has entered the Bacchae woods. She has come to stop my festival. Banish her from this time, far into the future. There she can cause no further trouble for me."

Kronos considered it for a moment before answering. "I will grant your request. With this act, my debt to you is repaid." Bacchus nodded in agreement. "Do not call on me again." Kronos warned, and in a flash he was gone.


“Do you think that the stories that people tell about the Bacchae are…are true?” Gabrielle asked tentatively.

“Some are; some aren’t. What have you heard?” The bard thought for a moment and then launched into her infamous story-telling mode, recounting the legend with great passion.

“Well, they say that…a single bite from a Bacchae can turn a young, innocent woman into a wild, soul-less creature, whose only allegiance is to Bacchus. And, once bitten, she’s lured into his lair to drink his blood. If she does…there’s no way to save her. She becomes a Bacchae -- forever.” The bard paused, waiting for a reaction or perhaps applause. When Xena didn't reply, Gabrielle continued her story, thrusting her hands into the air and speaking with even more conviction this time.

“They say that…the Bacchae women can take many forms -- sometimes, just…roaming the forest as wolves. Driven with an unquenchable thirst for blood, they track their intended victim relentlessly…until they corner him. Then they tear him apart…limb from limb.” The bard looked at the warrior. Xena appeared unmoved by her story. Assuming that the warrior had found it a bit melodramatic, Gabrielle decided to downplay the importance of the legend. “But, if you ask me…I think the stories are exaggerated…you know? Just…made up to give people a really good scare.”

Xena stopped in her tracks, as if sensing an unseen presence. "Show yourself, Ares." She demanded.

Kronos materialized in front of the two women, laughing.

"That's not Ares." Gabrielle pointed out, hiding behind Xena.

"Smart girl." Kronos chuckled. "I am Kronos, God of Time."

Xena instinctively moved closer to Gabrielle. "What do you want Kronos?" Xena asked through clenched teeth.

"I have come to repay an old debt." He replied. "How would you like to see the future, Warrior Princess?"

"No Thanks." Xena quipped. "I like the present just fine."

"That's too bad." Kronos answered flatly, raising his hand toward her.

Xena tackled Gabrielle and attempted to roll out of Kronos' line of fire. The god easily adapted his aim and a bright light shot from his fingertips. A portal opened close in front of Xena and Gabrielle. The pull of the vortex was intense, like the draw of a tornado. Xena grabbed onto the trunk of a nearby tree and Gabrielle grabbed onto Xena's leg.

"Hold on, Gabrielle." Xena pleaded, seeing the bard struggling.

"I'm try-ing…Xena…I'm losing my grip." Gabrielle's voice shook with fear.

The portal seemed to grow wider, its pull stronger, with each passing moment. Xena took one of her hands from the tree trunk and reached down toward the bard. "Here, Gabrielle, take my hand."

The bard tightened her grip on Xena's leg with one hand and with the other reached up toward Xena's outstretched hand. Green eyes locked on blue, as their fingertips touched, but before Xena could take hold, Gabrielle's grip gave way.

"Xena…" Gabrielle cried as she was pulled into the portal.

"Gabrielle…" Xena screamed. Without hesitation, Xena let go her hold on the tree and dove into the portal after her friend. The last sound either of them heard from their world was Kronos' self-satisfied laughter.


Buffy and Willow walked through the gates into Restfield Cemetery, arm in arm, embarking on another night's patrol.

"So, have you dusted many vamps lately?" Willow asked casually.

"One or two. It's been pretty quiet. Whenever there's a new big bad coming up, it's usually slow."

"The calm before the storm?" A concerned look crossed the redhead's face.

"Exactly. And with the mayor's ascension coming up…not surprising." Buffy confirmed. 

Buffy steered them toward the center of the cemetery. Satisfied with her view of the fresh graves nearby, she took a seat on the grass and reclined against a nearby tree. Taking Willow's hand, the slayer pulled her friend down next to her.

"So, Will, whatcha been up to?" Buffy asked, giving Willow her full attention.

"Oh, nothing really. The usual, you know…studying for finals and logging a lot of research time…" Willow paused, lost in thought.

Buffy caught the sudden seriousness in Willow's expression. "Hey, what's up, Will?" Getting no response, Buffy raised her friend's chin and tried to catch her gaze. "Earth to Will. Come in, Will."

"Oh sorry, Buffy." Willow smiled sheepishly.

"S'okay. What's on your mind?"

"I was just wondering…do you think we'll be able to stop the mayor?" Willow asked quietly.

"Sure we will." Buffy said with exaggerated confidence. "We've faced the end of the world how many times now?" She joked. "We always win in the end, don't we?" The slayer flashed a thousand-watt smile and squeezed Willow's hand reassuringly.

"Yeah, I guess we do." A small smile started at the corners of Willow's mouth. "Thanks, Buffy. You always make me feel better." The redhead relaxed then and her eyes green eyes brightened.

The blonde shook her head, dismissing the thank you. "That's what friends are for." She looped her arm through Willow's. "Besides, I could never make it through any of this if it wasn't for you." Buffy confessed, temporarily lost in the sweet green eyes in front of her. "…and Xander of course." She added, hoping to disguise her earlier admission.

A point of light emerged in the distance, directly behind Buffy's back. As the portal opened, light flooded a large section of the cemetery.

Willow gazed in awe. "Uh, B-Buffy…what's that?" She asked, pointing over Buffy's shoulder.

"I don't know," Buffy peered back at the spectacle curiously. "Let's check it out." She said, getting to her feet and offering Willow a hand.

Chapter 2 - Definitely Not Greece

The bard landed on the ground with a thud, with a certain warrior princess landing directly on top of her. Having released the travelers, the portal closed again.

"Are you all right, Gabrielle?" Xena shifted her weight off of the bard and scanned her for any sign of injury.

"I…think so." Gabrielle responded, more than a little shaken from the trip. "Where are we?"

"Looks like some sort of burial ground." Xena said, getting to her feet and pulling the bard up with her.

Gesturing to Willow to stay hidden, Buffy stepped from the shadows, stake in hand, to confront the two figures that had materialized before their eyes. Sensing a presence behind them, Xena whirled around to face Buffy and drew her sword all in one swift motion. Buffy gave a half-laugh.

"Let me guess, Eliminati, right? You guys with your swords. Didn't your buddies tell you, Balthazar is dead? Yep, I killed him. So, you're wasting your time here." Xena eyed Buffy cautiously.

"What's she talking about?" Gabrielle whispered, peering around Xena at the strange girl approaching them.

"I don't know." Xena admitted. "I don't know who you are," The warrior addressed Buffy, "but I don't want to have to hurt you." She lowered her sword to her side, hoping the small blonde would see it as an offer of peace. This elicited another laugh from Buffy, who stopped about six feet in front of Xena, at the ready.

"You don't want to hurt me?" The slayer laughed. "That's a new one."

Unable to be still any longer and not feeling threatened by the girl in front of them, Gabrielle stepped from behind the warrior. "Hi, I'm Gabrielle. My friend here is Xena. We mean you no harm…really." Certain that she could see sincerity in the smaller woman's eyes, Willow stepped out of the shadows and approached the group.

"Hey, Buffy, I think they're okay." The redhead said cautiously. Buffy visibly relaxed and pocketed her stake. Xena sheathed her sword and cautiously approached the slayer. Buffy considered the quiet woman in front of her for a moment and finally extended her hand.

"I'm Buffy." Xena accepted the handshake in the traditional manner for her -- laying her arm next to the slayer's and clasping Buffy's forearm near her elbow. Buffy raised an eyebrow at the unconventional greeting, but tried to follow Xena's lead. Willow introduced herself with a small wave, but made no move toward the large, leather-clad warrior. She did, however, try to offer Gabrielle a friendly smile. The bard decided to take the initiative and stepped up to address both girls before them.

"It seems that my friend and I have lost our way. Can you tell us…where are we?" She asked slowly, looking back and forth from Buffy to Willow, mentally noting how oddly they were dressed, how strangely they talked.

Always one to try to help, Willow replied. "Uh, you're in Restfield Cemetery…in Sunnydale."

"Where's that?" Xena asked, her eyes narrowing.

"California." Buffy replied with a small chuckle of disbelief at the blank looks on the two women's faces.

"What is California?" Gabrielle asked meaningfully, "Or-or where is California?"

"Look," Buffy interjected, "tell us where you're from and maybe we can clear this up,"

"I'm from Amphipolis," Xena stated, "and she's from Poteidia." She added, pointing to Gabrielle.

"Pota-what?" Buffy asked, then added with a smirk, "And what's with the outfits?"

"Wha'dya mean?" Xena asked defensively.

Buffy shook her head and Willow took a stab at diplomacy. "She just means that your clothes are, well, a little…out of date."

"Yeah, you're lucky I didn't stake the two of you." Buffy smirked.

Gabrielle looked at Xena, confused. Xena seemed to ignore Buffy's comment, instead looking around thoughtfully, noting their surroundings. She looked at the two girls in front of her, both wearing some strange sort of men's clothing. Then, she looked beyond them in the distance noting the bright lights that she reasoned did not resemble campfires.

Dismissing Buffy and Willow as if they weren't there, she took the bard by the arm and pulled her a few paces away from the two strangers. "Gabrielle," she said leaning toward her friend, "Kronos…I think he sent us to some place in the future."

"That's impossible, Xena." Gabrielle laughed, dismissing the idea with a shake of her head.

"Look around, Gabrielle." Xena replied dryly. Then turning back to Buffy, she insisted, "Who is the ruler of this land?"

"Huh?" Buffy laughed, shooting a look at Willow as if to say, 'These two are crazy, huh?'

Willow, trying to process what she had overheard the two women saying a moment before, stepped toward the warrior. "Excuse me. Did you say Kronos? As in Kronos, the Greek God of Time?"

"Yes. Do you know him?" Xena asked hopefully.

"Know him? Not exactly. I learned about him in my mythology class last year." Willow smiled sheepishly.

"Kronos, he sent us here." Xena continued, directing the statement at no one in particular. "This place…it isn't Greece, is it? Who rules this land?" She asked urgently, taking another step forward, invading Willow's personal space. Willow shrank back next to Buffy to escape the steel-blue gaze of the warrior princess. Unlike Willow, Buffy was not intimidated.

"Definitely not Greece." Buffy replied matter-of-factly. Willow shook her head, confirming Buffy's statement.

Unnoticed by the group, a newborn vamp had slithered from a nearby grave. Eyeing the women from behind a tombstone, the hungry young vamp considered which one would make a nice first meal. Gabrielle was within reach and, he noted, looked like a tender, young morsel indeed.

In an instant, he grabbed Gabrielle from behind, catching her completely off guard. Her sharp intake of breath and innocent whimper only furthered his excitement as he anticipated tasting the blood of the sweet virgin in his arms.

Xena snapped into action, drawing her sword and facing the man, demanding in an icy tone, "Let her go."

The vamp yanked Gabrielle's head back to expose the sensitive flesh of her neck, then offered a toothy, evil grin as his mouth descended toward its target. Instinctively, Gabrielle brought her leg up behind her, kicking the vamp squarely in a particularly sensitive place. She scrambled free of his grasp.

"Bacchae!" Xena ground out, her voice low and filled with hate for the demon that had threatened Gabrielle. The vamp recovered quickly though, catching Gabrielle by the hair before she managed to get out of reach. To the surprise of warrior, bard, and vamp alike, a certain petite blonde stepped into the fray, planting a roundhouse kick in the vamp's face that not only freed Gabrielle from his grasp but also sent him flying several feet before he landed with a thud against a nearby tombstone.

"I'm sorry, the kitchen's closed." Buffy quipped with sugary sweetness, earning her an approving giggle from Willow and confused looks from the others.

The vamp scrambled to his feet, eyeing Buffy as she reached into her leather jacket and pulled out her stake, casually walking toward him. "Come on. Let's get this over with." She rolled her eyes, feigning boredom.

Stupid or desperate, the vamp lunged at Buffy who took him down with one punch and followed up with a swift stake to his chest. Casually dusting off her hands, she stood up with a smile and received Willow's victory high-five. Understandably, Xena and Gabrielle watched these events with a mixture of confusion, surprise and respect.

"You guys okay?" Buffy asked, surveying the warrior and bard. Gabrielle simply nodded -- one of those rare moments where the bard found herself at a loss for words.

"Thanks for saving my friend." Xena said sincerely.

"All in a day's work." Buffy said, looking up to meet the tall warrior's sincere blue eyes.

Finding her voice again, the bard's curiosity surfaced. "What type of work do you do exactly? Do you fight Bacchae?"

"That was no Bacchae," Xena interjected,  "Bacchus doesn't have male followers."

"Hey, Will, help me out here." Buffy begged. "Any idea what they're talking about? It's all Greek to me." She added, smiling at her own joke.

"Not funny, Buffy." Willow said, but couldn't stop herself from laughing at the pun. "Actually, it is Greek." She continued, trying to be serious. "Bacchus…he's a Greek God too, isn't he?" she asked the warrior princess.

"God of Wine." Xena replied. "A real sleaze."

"Geez, Will, I'm glad that one of us pays attention in school." Buffy remarked, genuinely impressed. Willow smiled at the compliment.

"But if that wasn't a Bacchae…what was it?" Gabrielle asked, looking concerned.

"That…was a vampire…which brings us back to what I do…I kill vampires…like the one that attacked you." Buffy stated, gesturing to Gabrielle, then purposefully pocketing her stake. Seeing their confused expressions, Buffy turned to Willow, "Hey Will, you wanna explain it to them?" To Xena and Gabrielle she said, "She likes to tell the story."

"Sure, Buffy." Willow agreed. "Let's sit and I'll tell you all about it." She said to the two women. The group settled on the steps of a large family tomb and Willow explained all about the chosen one. As she completed her story, with much more flair than Giles, Xena spoke up.

"But you're so…small. You don't look very strong." The warrior said looking at Buffy skeptically. "How do you do it?"

"Super Slayer Strength." Buffy replied. "It's just a slayer thing."

"And all the slayers have been girls?" Gabrielle inquired, recalling the point from Willow's story, 'One girl in all the world.'

"Yep." Willow confirmed.

"Fascinating…" Gabrielle said shaking her head, trying to commit all of the details to memory so that she could one day write a scroll about this adventure.

"Snap out of it, Gabrielle." Xena said a little impatiently, "It's late. We have to set up camp somewhere and find our way back to Greece tomorrow. We have to stop Bacchus." Xena added, looking around, suddenly feeling very out of her element.

"But Xena…we're in the future. It's too late to stop Bacchus now, isn't it?" Gabrielle asked softly.

"I don't know how yet, but we've got to find a way to undo what Kronos did. We've got to get back to our time." Xena replied with a hint of desperation in her voice.

Looking first to Buffy, then at the warrior and bard, Willow offered, "M-maybe we can help you." She felt an unexplainable connection to the two women in front of them.

"A map would be nice." Xena admitted. Buffy and Willow looked at each other, both feeling sympathetic to the travelers' predicament.

"Look," Buffy said, "You don't understand. You can't exactly walk to Greece. Where you're at now…Greece is half a world away, thousands of miles, across an ocean."

"A-and…the world is…different than it was in your time." Willow added, sharing a brief, knowing glance with Buffy. She didn't know exactly what point in time the women had come from, but judging by their clothing alone, it was safe to say that their world was very different indeed. Electricity, telephones, cars, computers…her mental list just kept growing.

"Does Caesar still reign in Rome?" Xena asked, hoping to gauge how far into the future Kronos had sent them. Shaking her head a simple no, Buffy then looked questioningly at Willow who searched her memory for the timeframe when Caesar had ruled.

"That's sometime B.C., Buffy," Willow whispered, her eyes widening as the realization hit her. "More than two thousand years ago." She added, in a whisper. Seeing the confused looks of the two women staring at her, Willow struggled to put it into terms they could understand. "Caesar hasn't ruled for…for probably…100 generations now." Warrior and bard alike looked speechless to say the least.

Buffy was quick to respond. "Hey, don't worry. We'll find a way to help you out."

"Yeah." Willow caught Gabrielle's gaze, offering a reassuring smile. "We'll work it out."

"Hey, Will, think you can work a little magic or something?" Buffy asked.

"That's a great idea." Willow smiled enthusiastically. "Maybe I can find a spell to reverse what Kronos did."

"Do you have special powers too?" Gabrielle asked Willow.

"I…study magic…kind of like the druids from your time." Willow explained. "I'm sure if we do some research, we'll find something that will help."

"We appreciate your help." Xena said, sincerely grateful.

"Yes. I guess we're lucky that you came along when you did." Gabrielle added.

Realizing that it was past midnight, Buffy turned to Xena. "Right now, I think we need to find you some place to stay for the night. Tomorrow we can start the research…that is…after we find you two something else to wear. You can't go around looking like that." She said, staring wide-eyed at Xena's armor and weaponry.

"Yeah…blending is good." Willow agreed, nodding. "And you definitely stand out in that outfit." She added, chuckling nervously.

"You're probably right." Xena admitted.

" We can blend..." Gabrielle offered. "Right, Xena?"

"Sure." Xena affirmed. "So, we should probably set up camp for the night, Gabrielle." She added, getting to her feet.

"But we don't really have any of our supplies." Gabrielle pointed out. "It figures. The least Kronos could have done was zap our bedrolls into the future too. Gods are so inconsiderate sometimes." The bard added sarcastically.

"You can stay at my house." Willow offered. "My parents are never home. There's plenty of room. And…you can't sleep out here."

"Trust me." Buffy added, smiling. "You don't want to camp out in Sunnydale. Camping on the hellmouth is definitely a no-no."

"What's a hellmouth?" Gabrielle asked, causing Buffy to chuckle in response.

 "A hellmouth…that's harder to explain. But…people who stay out at night in Sunnydale…they usually don't survive until morning." Willow explained.

"Rough place, huh?" Xena commented, raising an eyebrow.

"Let's just put it this way," Buffy answered, "That vamp that attacked your friend earlier…guys like him are the least of your worries out here."

"I'm sure we'll be okay. Xena's the greatest warrior of our time you know." Gabrielle said, proudly. "She's fought slavers and blood-thirsty warlords, entire armies even, and she always defeats them in the end."

Xena interrupted. "Gabrielle…"

"I know, I know. We don't have time for stories." Gabrielle relented, sensing the warrior princess' impatience.

"If the offer is still open, we'll stay with you." Xena stated, turning to Willow.

"Of course." Willow nodded.

"A sleep-over at Will's it is." Buffy confirmed, rising from her seat on the crypt's step and offering Willow a hand.

"On the way to my house, we can talk more about…what it's like here. So you can be prepared, you know." Willow suggested.

Chapter 3 - Welcome to My World

The walk to Willow's seemed to pass quickly. Willow went into full babble-mode explaining many aspects of life in the modern world. Recalling how Buffy had reacted to cars the Halloween when Ethan's spell had turned them into their costumes, Willow began with a short explanation about automobiles.

Still, once during their walk, the sight and sound of a passing car sent Xena into battle mode. She drew her sword and took defensive stance at the curb as Gabrielle hid behind her. Buffy and Willow tried not to giggle and assured the two that there was nothing to worry about.

The warrior and bard listened intently to Willow as they walked, while staring in awe at the paved roadways, the streetlights and the elaborate homes, trying to adjust to this strange, new world.  By the time they reached her house, Willow had covered a wide variety of topics, trying to predict what the warrior and bard would most need to know in order to adapt to life in 1999.  As she dug in her pocket for her house key, Willow paused, looking at the two women, "Kind of a lot to think about, huh?" She admitted.

"No big…it'll just take some getting used to." Buffy said. Once inside, Willow gave them a brief tour. In the bathroom, she explained how to use the toilet much to the amazement of the warrior and bard. Then she led them to the guestroom.

"I hope you don't mind sharing…if it's a problem, one of you could sleep downstairs."

"This will do just fine." Xena replied. "Thanks."

"If you need anything, we'll be in my room…just down the hall." Willow added. "So…I guess we'll see you in the morning then."

"Thank you…for everything." Gabrielle was overwhelmed by the strange new world around them and grateful for their newfound friends.

"It's nothing." Willow assured them, saying goodnight.


"Hey, Buff…you think they'll be okay?" Willow asked thoughtfully, propping herself up on the bed, meeting the slayer's gaze.

"Yeah, Will, I do. From what they said, they've faced a lot together and they've always made it through."

"Kind of like us." Willow noted, smiling dreamily up at Buffy.

"Now that you mention it…totally like us." Buffy agreed, hazel eyes locking with green, radiating her genuine affection for the hacker. Feeling suddenly jittery under the slayer's warm gaze, Willow looked away.

"So, uh, what are we going to tell Giles and the rest of the gang about them?" The redhead asked.

"As little as possible." Buffy replied with a small chuckle, reclining on the bed then, stretching out beside her best friend, still regarding Willow closely.

Willow laughed a nervous little laugh, vaguely noting that her mouth felt as dry as the Sahara, and promptly launched into full babble-mode. "Yeah…you're probably right. I mean, how would we introduce them anyway? 'Uh, gee guys, these are our new friends, Xena and Gabrielle, we found them in the cemetery and, by the way, they're from ancient Greece, like 2000 years ago. Ha, and oh yeah, they just appeared out of thin air from this beam of light. And they said that The God of Time sent them here.'" Willow concluded, rolling her eyes for effect as she finished. Stealing a quick glance at Buffy, she saw that the slayer's smile had grown wider and the glint in her eyes brighter than even before.

"How I love Willow-babble." Buffy said with an easy smile. Feeling self-conscious, Willow looked at her then, searching for some sign that Buffy was making fun of her geeky-ness. Seeing the unspoken question in Willow's eyes, the slayer clarified, "I'm serious, Will." Lifting the redhead's chin to look into her shy green eyes, Buffy added. "Promise me something?"

"Sure, Buffy. Anything." Willow replied without hesitation, hearing the sudden note of seriousness in her best friend's voice.

"Don’t ever change. You're perfect just the way you are." Buffy said slowly, forcing Willow to meet her gaze. A deep blush crept over the redhead's fair cheeks, signaling the slayer that her words had hit home.

"Aww, Buffy," was all Willow could manage, but her eyes expressed all that she couldn't verbalize - a silent thank you, a deep trust, and all of her love for her best friend.

Trying to lighten the mood then, Buffy noted with a chuckle, "Besides, there are plenty of Cordelias in the world." That elicited a small giggle from Willow. Giving her friend's hand a gentle squeeze, Buffy added sincerely, "But there's only one Willow."

The hacker offered a shy smile. "Thanks, Buffy…you're the best."


In the guestroom, Gabrielle began the nightly ritual of helping Xena remove her armor. Both women were quiet, lost in thought about the day's events. When sword, chakram, and armor were piled on a nearby dresser, Xena finished undressing down to her sleeping shift and sat down on the edge of the bed. Gabrielle knelt in front of her to work the laces of Xena's boots. After removing the second boot, Gabrielle paused, looking up at Xena.

"Dinar for your thoughts." The bard offered, meeting the warrior's distant blue eyes.

"Just thinking about what I'd do if I could get my hands on Kronos right about now." Xena answered with a wicked grin, eliciting a laugh from her friend.

"At least we met someone here who can help us." Gabrielle replied, trying to be optimistic.

"I don't know, Gabrielle. They're just kids. And involving them…might be a mistake."

"That's what you thought when you met me." Gabrielle pointed out. "Maybe I was just a kid then, but I'm not anymore. Meeting you…changed my life, Xena." The bard continued, "Besides, this is a different world. Did you see what Buffy did to that guy who attacked me? She's some kind of…warrior, like you. Those two may be young…but I think they can take care of themselves."

"You may be right." Xena conceded.

"Huh. Did you just agree with me, Xena?" The bard teased, settling on the bed beside the warrior.

"Ah, don't let it go to your head." Xena ground out, though a smile played at the corners of her mouth. Gabrielle smiled, letting the subject drop, and bent to take off her boots.

"We should get some sleep." Xena said, climbing under the covers. "I think tomorrow's gonna be a long day."

Gabrielle climbed in beside her. "Okay. Goodnight, Xena."

"G'night, Gabrielle."


Xena fell asleep easily, obviously exhausted from her trip through time. She woke early as the first light spilled into the guestroom window. It took a moment for her to remember where she was and the events that had led her to this place, to this strange bed. She turned onto her side to look at Gabrielle.

Most mornings she was the first to wake and she often took the opportunity to gaze at the bard. She smiled warmly, drawn to the strawberry blonde's innocence, marveling at how peaceful she looked when she was sleeping. After a few stolen glances, Xena finally slipped out of bed to get her typical early start on the day.

Down the hall, a similar scene played out in Willow's room. Buffy woke, the scent of lilacs greeting her, and she smiled a contented smile as she noted that it was Willow lying next to her. As the sleep left her body and reality dawned, Buffy opened her eyes and found herself in a rather compromising position. She realized that she must have wrapped herself around Willow sometime during the night. And while Willow seemed to be sleeping rather contentedly in her arms, the slayer silently berated herself for what her friend might think if she were to wake to find her there. Holding her breath, she carefully slipped her arms from around the sleeping redhead and made her way back to her side of the bed.


Breakfast brought more technological surprises for the warrior and bard. While Gabrielle marveled at everything in the kitchen, Xena seemed most preoccupied with the refrigerator that held more varieties of food than she could name and the stove that gave instant fire with the turn of a dial.

Though leftover pizza or doughnuts were a typical breakfast for Buffy and Willow after one of their sleepovers, they decided on more traditional pancakes for their hungry guests. Not feeling particularly confident about her cooking skill, Willow watched hopefully as the warrior and bard dug into the loads of food she had set before them on the kitchen table.

"This is delicious." Gabrielle assured her between mouthfuls. Xena nodded her head in agreement and offered a grateful smile without stopping her assault on her plate of food. Buffy smiled approvingly at Willow before turning her attention to her own plate.


After breakfast and another crash course in the ways of the modern world, Willow turned to Xena and Gabrielle, "Now, we need to find you two something less conspicuous to wear." After thinking for a moment, she added. "You look about my size, Gabrielle. I'm sure I've got something you can wear."

"What about Xena?" Buffy asked skeptically, glancing at Willow and gesturing to the tall 5' 11" warrior.

"Uh…I don't know." Willow admitted. "Maybe something of my dad's will fit?" She offered.

"All right…can we just get this over with?" Xena ground out, clearly not pleased at the prospect of a wardrobe change, let alone wearing some strange man's clothing.

A short time later, Willow had found a pair of brown corduroy pants and green T-shirt for Gabrielle to wear and was rummaging through her parents' closet in search of something for Xena.  She finally settled on a pair of black jeans and a dark blue button-down dress shirt - the only type of shirt Mr. Rosenberg seemed to own. Willow and Buffy waited in the hallway while the warrior and bard changed their clothes. Gabrielle emerged first, looking a little uncertain in her new clothes.

"You look great." Buffy assured her.

"Yeah…you look better in my clothes than I do." Willow noted, suddenly feeling less than gorgeous next to Gabrielle.

"She looks good, Will…but not that good." Buffy interjected with an easy smile, then cleared her throat nervously, hoping her friend hadn't noticed the tone she'd heard in her own voice. Happy for the distraction, Buffy turned her attention to Xena who was entering the hallway muttering a few choice words under her breath, clearly unimpressed with her new outfit. Xena stopped in her tracks, eyebrows raised, when she caught a glimpse of Gabrielle. The warrior looked from her friend to herself and gave a small laugh.

"We look ridiculous." She noted.

"Gee thanks, Xena." Gabrielle replied sarcastically, approaching the warrior.

"Sorry Gabrielle. I didn't mean anything by it." Xena offered. "Are you sure that thing is gonna hold you?" Xena added in an almost whisper, pointing to Gabrielle's breasts, which looked as if they might burst out of the borrowed shirt.

Gabrielle batted Xena's hand away and laughed. "Oh…you're one to talk. Look at you…you've done this up all wrong." She said, straightening Xena's shirt collar and beginning to unbutton the lopsided shirt and re-button it correctly. Willow and Buffy watched the exchange with interest, both surprised at the familiarity between the two friends. The warrior and bard continued to bicker while Gabrielle righted Xena's shirt. When Gabrielle finished the task, she had buttoned Xena's shirt all the way to her neck and stood back looking very pleased with herself while Xena glowered down at her.

"I can't breathe in this thing." Xena reported through clenched teeth.

"Let me give you a tip." Buffy offered with a chuckle. "A few buttons…that's all the difference between geek and hottie." Xena stared at her, clearly not understanding. "Look." Buffy said, stepping forward and unbuttoning the top three buttons of Xena's shirt, the last of which offered a glimpse of the warrior princess' ample cleavage. "Like this."

Buffy stood back to give Willow and Gabrielle a look. "What do you think girls? Hottie?"

Willow nodded and smiled widely. "Totally."

"That's good…much more your style, Xena." Gabrielle agreed, looking her friend up and down, her eyes lingering at the exposed cleavage at the opening of Xena's shirt, a smile tugging playfully at her lips. "Much better."

"All right, that's enough." Xena said impatiently. "At least I can breathe now…but where am I supposed to carry my weapons?"

"You're not." Buffy countered. "You're trying to fit in here, remember?"

"But I need my sword and chakram." Xena insisted.

"No, you don't. I don't know what it's like where you come from, but here weapons are kind of frowned upon. And you can't just go around killing people."

"Oh, don't worry. Xena doesn't kill anyone unless she has to." Gabrielle said seriously.

"That's reassuring." Buffy responded sarcastically.

Willow stepped up to try to help Buffy explain. "Look…people are different here. Things are different here. You shouldn't have to fight anyone at all…except maybe a vampire."

"And vampires are already dead…so no harm in dusting them." Buffy added with a smile.

The phone rang and Xena assumed a battle stance, looking around for the source of the sound. Buffy gave a half-laugh and Willow explained, "It's just the telephone. I told you about that…remember." Xena relaxed a little and the group followed Willow downstairs where she answered the phone.

"Hello…Oh, hi Giles. Yeah, Buffy's here. Sorry we're late. We'll be right over." Willow hung up the phone and turned to Buffy, "We're late. I guess we better get going."

Chapter 4 - Meeting The Gang

As they approached the school, Willow explained that there was no school today because it was Saturday, so the only people they should see were Giles and the gang.

"It's best if we don't tell them about your situation." Buffy said seriously. "Just follow our lead. You don't have to say anything." Xena and Gabrielle both nodded in agreement as Willow led the group through the library doors.

"Ah, good of you to join us." Giles said, addressing Buffy as she entered.

"Sorry we're late, Giles, but we ran into some friends." Buffy said, gesturing to the warrior and bard. "Xena, Gabrielle…this is Giles, Xander, Cordelia, and Oz."

"Who's he?" Xena asked, gesturing to the dark-haired man that Buffy had neglected to mention in her introductions.

"Oh, he's not important." Buffy said with a playful smile.

"Wesley Wyndam-Price" Wesley said in his typical pretentious way, stepping forward to offer his hand to Xena. She looked down at him unimpressed before reluctantly extending her hand.

Wesley took her hand and shook it. Xena followed his lead and he visibly winced at the warrior's firm grip before reclaiming his hand and lamely retreating to the other side of the room. Willow and Gabrielle watched the scene, snickering together in one corner while Buffy smiled approvingly at Xena. Giles and the rest of the gang looked on as the new arrivals pulled up some chairs and settled in around the table.

"It's nice to meet you all." Gabrielle offered, smiling.

"Likewise." Giles replied. "Now then, I called this meeting to discuss the mayor…Buffy are you sure your friends here wouldn't be more comfortable outside? We wouldn't want to bore them, now would we?" He added, not wanting to give away Buffy's identity to the two newcomers.

"It's okay, Giles." Buffy assured him. "They already know I'm the slayer."

"Perfect." Giles replied, his voice laced with disapproval. "Is there anyone left in this town who doesn't know?" He pulled off his glasses and pinched the bridge of his nose.

"It's no big. Really, Giles. A vamp attacked Gabrielle and they saw me stake him." Buffy explained. "And Xena can hold her own in a fight, so I thought maybe she could help us while she's here."

"Well…all right then, I guess we should get on with the meeting." Giles conceded. "So, here's what we know. It appears that the mayor cannot be killed between now and his Ascension. And to make matters worse, Faith has switched sides. She's working with the mayor."

"Who is Faith?" Gabrielle asked, leaning over to whisper quietly to Willow.

"She's the other slayer." Willow whispered back.

"I thought you said there was only one." Gabrielle replied, confused.

"It's complicated…I'll have to explain later." Willow whispered back.

Giles continued. "We need to learn all that we can about this…Ascension, what it involves, when it will take place, and so on. We have to find a way to stop the mayor. Meanwhile, I urge you all to be very careful. Faith may have been your friend at one time, but now…" He paused.

"What Giles is trying to say," Buffy interjected, "is that Faith is a real head case, total loony-bin material."

"Well, yes…I guess that's one way of putting it, Buffy." Giles responded, then addressed the group once again. "That being the case, you should avoid her if possible. She is…unpredictable and quite dangerous."

"So, what do you need us to do, G-man?" Xander piped in.

"Research." Giles answered. "We need to find any information we can about the Ascension."

"Great! Research." Xander replied, with mock enthusiasm, heading for the stacks.

"If that's all, then I really should be going." Cordelia added, standing up and straightening her skirt. "I've got some shopping to do."

"It was nice meeting you…Cordelia, isn't it?" Gabrielle said, politely.

"Yes. Nice meeting you too." Cordelia replied looking down at the bard. "Too bad about your outfit though. You must shop at the same store the little dweeb here shops at." She added, gesturing to Willow while taking her parting shot.

Gabrielle looked slightly taken aback, caught off guard by the cruel comment. Xena stood then and approached Cordelia, stopping mere inches away and looking down at the much smaller brunette. "That wasn't very nice, now was it? I believe that you owe my friends here an apology." The warrior princess stated slowly.

"She's not worth it, Xena." Gabrielle assured her.

"Yeah, that's just Cordy being Cordy." Willow agreed, shrugging her shoulders.

Cordelia's normally calm, confident exterior seemed to betray her for a moment under Xena's intimidating glare, but she quickly recovered. At Gabrielle and Willow's prodding, Xena took a step back as if dismissing the young brunette. Cordelia rolled her eyes and turned to Buffy, "What's her childhood trauma?" She asked in true Cordelia style.

"You're on your own in this one, Cordy." Buffy answered, shaking her head at Cordelia's thoughtless decision to challenge the warrior. With that, Cordelia sidestepped the tall woman in front of her without another word and made her way toward the doors.

"Nice girl." Xena remarked as Cordelia left.

"She can be a little hard to take sometimes, but she's not all bad." Buffy explained.

"Well, Buffy, if that's all, then you and I have a great deal of work to do." Giles interrupted. "You know you've missed two training sessions already this week." He pointed out.

"All right, let's do it then." Buffy agreed. "But I'm telling you…I'm in great shape."

"What do you want us to do?" Gabrielle asked.

"I don't know. You can watch if you want to. And maybe Willow can explain more to you about the situation with the mayor." Buffy suggested.

"Sure, Buff." Willow agreed.

While Xander and Oz settled in one corner of the library intent on research, Giles and Buffy pulled out some mats and sparring equipment. Willow led Xena and Gabrielle to some nearby chairs and began explaining in more detail about the mayor and Faith.

Wesley approached Buffy and Giles. "I can handle this." He insisted, dismissing Giles. Giles stopped and looked at Buffy, who made no comment, but looked at Wesley unimpressed. "I am your watcher now, Buffy." He said. "It's my job to oversee your training."

"Fine." Buffy said. "Put these on." She added, handing him the protective pads that Giles usually wore.

"Excellent." Wesley responded, glancing at Giles who retreated to a nearby chair to watch.

Gabrielle listened intently as Willow explained that the mayor was some type of demon planning to take over Sunnydale. She told them some of their history with Faith and how she was now working for the mayor. Xena listened too, all the while watching Buffy's training. Not one to sit on the sidelines for long, Xena was growing antsy by the time Willow's story was winding down.

"Let's take a break." Wesley offered, clearly out of breath after being on the receiving end of several minutes of the slayer's enthusiastic punches and kicks. Even with the pads, he couldn't handle Buffy's assault for long.

"I'm fine, Wes. We can keep going." Buffy said, smiling brightly. "I'm just starting to get warmed up actually."

"No, really." Wesley insisted, gasping for air. "Let's take a break."

"If you're up for it, we could do a little sparring." Xena suggested, looking hopeful, stepping up to the slayer as Wesley collapsed in a nearby chair. "I'm not much for sitting around." Xena admitted.

"That's an excellent idea." Wesley said, thankful to have a replacement. "Just take it easy on her Buffy."

Xena laughed at that. "Don't worry. I can hold my own." She assured them.

"Okay." Buffy nodded. "This could be fun." Willow and Gabrielle watched as the two faced off. Xena waited, allowing Buffy to make the first move. Buffy finally took the initiative and offered up a series of soft kicks that Xena easily blocked.

"I'm impressed." The slayer said genuinely before continuing her assault. This time, she came at the warrior with a punch. Xena caught it midair and flipped the slayer, who landed on her back on the mat at the warrior's feet. Willow gasped in surprise.

"Nice moves." Buffy grinned, accepting the hand Xena offered. On her feet once again, Buffy noted several new pairs of eyes watching the events from across the room.

"I know you can do better than that." Xena commented. "I've seen for myself what you can do. Stop holding back. Trust me…I can take it."

"Super slayer strength, remember?" Buffy pointed out. "I don't want to hurt you."

"I'd like to see you try, little girl." Xena challenged with a wicked laugh. That set the slayer into motion. She came at the warrior with a solid roundhouse kick, which Xena again blocked, though with more difficulty this time around. She followed up with a quick series of punches. The warrior princess managed to block all but one that landed squarely in her midsection, sending Xena back a step. Buffy stopped then, worried that she had gone too far and hurt Xena.

"Are you okay?" Concern showed on the slayer's face.

"Oh I'm just fine." Xena answered with a gleam in her eye. "Nice shot by the way."

"Thanks. Maybe we should call it a day, huh?" Buffy offered.

"Oh no. We're just getting started." Xena insisted. "It'll take more than one punch to do me in."

"Your friend…she's amazing." Gabrielle said to Willow. "Most of the men I've seen can't even touch Xena in a fight."

"Yeah, Buffy's the best. A lot of people underestimate her. They think because she's small or because she's a girl that she's no threat. Big mistake underestimating Buffy." Willow smiled, wide-eyed. "She's fought some of the biggest, meanest demons you can imagine. She's saved my life more than once too."

"I know what you mean. Xena's always fighting impossible odds and winning. And she looks out for me too. She's saved me more times than I can count. We're incredibly lucky to have friends like them." Gabrielle mused.

"You're so right." Willow agreed. "I've only known Buffy for two and a half years and it feels like I've known her forever."

Nodding her head in understanding, Gabrielle said thoughtfully, "Xena and I have traveled together for just over a year now, but I can hardly remember what my life was like before I met her."

The hacker and bard turned their attention back to their friends just in time to see Xena make her move toward the slayer -- two punches followed by a series of kicks, all of which Buffy cleanly blocked. Buffy's counter-attack fared no better as the warrior princess blocked the assault with apparent ease.

Wesley, still trying to regain control of his breathing, watched in complete awe of the two women in front of him. After a few minutes of watching the two trade blows, neither one able to best the other, he called the sparring to a halt.

"Yes, I think that's quite enough for today." Giles said taking the reigns from Wesley again. He looked curiously from Buffy to her beautiful dark-haired sparring partner. "Buffy, might I ask, exactly how did you two meet?"

"Oh, we're old friends." Buffy said, shrugging off the question. "I'm sure I told you about Xena."

"No. I don't recall you ever mentioning her before." Giles slowly shook his head. "I think I would remember that." He insisted.

"Well, anyway, Xena and Gabrielle don't live around here. They're from…Illinois. I met them there when I was visiting my aunt."

"Yeah. We're just…visiting for a few days." Xena offered. "So, what's next?" She added, changing the subject.

"Well, I think they've got the research under control here." Buffy said, "So, why don't Willow and I show you two around Sunnydale. What do you say, Will? You up for it?"

"Yeah, sure. That sounds like fun." The redhead nodded enthusiastically.

"Great. Let's book." Buffy said, heading for the door. "We'll talk to you later Giles."

"Oh, well, okay Buffy. I'll let you know if we find anything here." Giles called after her.

"Hey, Buff…will we see you gals at the Bronze tonight? Dingoes are playing, right Oz?" Xander asked.

"Yeah, we're on tonight." Oz confirmed.

"We wouldn't miss it. Would we, Will?" Buffy said, looping her arm through Willow's.

"Nope. We'll be there." Willow agreed as Buffy pulled her toward the library doors with Xena and Gabrielle following.

On their way across the schoolyard, Buffy turned to Willow. "I feel the need for more sugar than the human body can handle. What do you say we stop for mochas?"

"What are mochas?" Gabrielle asked.

"Mochas? Well…mochas can't be explained." Buffy said matter-of-factly.

"Yeah…" Willow chuckled. "More chocolatey goodness than you can imagine. I can't believe you've never had one. I mean, I guess I can believe it. I'm sure they didn't have mochas 2000 years ago." She babbled, with a silly smile. "But still, it's hard to imagine life without mochas."

"That settles it." Buffy said, steering the group toward The Espresso Pump. "While you two are here, we'll make sure you get to experience some of the great things about life in 1999…starting with mochas."

"That's a nice gesture, but what about our little problem?" Xena asked, preoccupied, as usual, with getting some work done.

"Don't worry. After we get our mocha fix, we can head back to my house and get right to work on it." Willow offered.

Gabrielle recognized the tension in the warrior. "Come on, Xena. Live a little." The bard urged, putting her arm around Xena. "It'll be fun. Besides, you can always worry when we get back home. When will we ever have another chance like this? We get to experience life in the future. It's an incredible gift if you think about it." Gabrielle concluded. Xena looked unconvinced. "Just try to relax and have a little fun. For me?" Gabrielle smiled sweetly, meeting her best friend's blue eyes.

"All right, you win. I'll try." Xena conceded, unable to resist Gabrielle's infectious enthusiasm.

Section 2 dawnm Crossover Index